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SBSD - Morongo Basin Sheriff's Department
Sunday June 19th, 2022 :: 01:10 p.m. PDT


Three Suspects Arrested After Deputies Locate Explosives in Their Vehicle and Home

DATE/TIME: Saturday, June 18, 2022, at approximately 10:09 a.m. 

INCIDENT: Possession of Destructive Devices or Explosives and Possession of a Controlled Substance While Armed.   

LOCATION: Twentynine Palms Highway / Old Woman Springs Road, Yucca Valley

SUSPECT(S): Jeffery Russell, age 46, resident of Johnson Valley
David Russell, age 50, resident of Johnson Valley
Venus Mooney, age 54, resident of Johnson Valley

VICTIM(S): State of California 

SUMMARY: On June 18, 2022, at about 10:09 a.m., deputies assigned to the Morongo Basin Sheriff’s Station were conducting proactive patrol near the intersection of Twentynine Palms Highway and Old Woman Springs Road. Deputy Carlos conducted a traffic stop on a white Ford Taurus for California vehicle code violations. 

The driver was identified as David Russell, and the front passenger was Jeffrey Russell. During the investigation, deputies discovered the subjects claimed to be sovereign citizens. A further records check identified both subjects as prohibited persons from owning or possessing firearms. Deputies continued the investigation and found live ammunition, black gun powder, and an improvised military-grade explosive device, inside the vehicle. Personnel with Sheriff's Bomb and Arson Division arrived and safely disposed of the device in a safe area. While continuing to investigate, deputies learned additional explosives were located on a property in Johnson Valley. A search warrant was obtained for the location. 

Deputies, with the assistance of Bomb and Arson, served the search warrant in a remote sovereign citizen compound in Johnson Valley. A female occupant was detained and identified as Venus Mooney. A search was conducted, and additional military-grade explosives, ammunition, and firearms were found. Bomb and Arson handled the explosive devices and properly disposed of them.  

David Russell, Jeffrey Russell, and Venus Mooney were arrested and booked at the Morongo Basin Jail for PC 18710, possession of an explosive device, and HS 11370.1, possession of a controlled substance while armed. All suspects are being held without bail, pending a court appearance.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation is urged to contact Deputy Carlos at 760-366-4175. Callers who wish to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or anyone may leave their information on a We-Tip Hotline at 

Refer: Deputy Z. Carlos

Station: Morongo Basin Station

Phone No. (760) 366-4175

Case No. 232201254

SHANNON D. DICUS, Sheriff-Coroner
San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department

SBSD - Morongo Basin Sheriff's Department
63665 Twentynine Palms Highway
Joshua Tree, CA 92252

Emergency: 9-1-1

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